Planting seeds for growth
A year into the Trump administration, America has pulled out of the Paris climate agreement, put tariffs on solar panels and put more funding into the coal industry. These administrative actions have created an uproar in certain communities worried about the environment, thus triggering reaction.
Some people have called for a step back from the Paris climate agreement, which had produced an agreement between countries to acknowledge the present danger of climate change and reached an agreement to reduce harm. Others were decidedly against the action and used it to promote change.
One such example of this change came from three men from across the globe creating a organization called Trump Forest.
“US President Donald Trump doesn’t believe in the science of human-caused climate change. He wants to ignore one of the greatest threats to healthy life on Earth,” they said. “So we’re planting a forest to soak up the extra greenhouse gases Trump plans to put into our atmosphere. We’re planting a global forest to offset Trump’s monumental stupidity.”
French-New Zealander entrepreneur Adrien Taylor, British climate scientist Dan Price and American Ph.D. candidate Jeff Willis created Trump Forest together to help people get involved in working against climate change.
People can buy trees and plant them and contribute to the count. It’s a worldwide effort all in the name of the same action.
While this is possible anywhere in the world, it is not visible as a movement quite yet on campus. However, others are working like those that created Trump Forest to work in the name of environmentalism on campus.
Marc-Anthony Hernandez, a mechanical engineering major on campus has been involved in environmental causes for years. He was president of Ecolife on campus for two years and is now president of Ecostudents.
Hernandez started the group so that people would have a voice on campus but he is disappointed that more people haven’t stepped forward in that last year with all of the environmental deregulation around the EPA.
“I think there hasn’t been much change in student involvement in the last year, it seemed like mostly just talk of ‘we should do something,’ rather than anything actually being done,” he said. “Which is not to blame the students that want to get involved.”
Hernandez is not the only one that feels as if students could contribute more to the effort. Ivy Hung has been working in the dining center as the Resident Dining Director and has been trying to change the culture around sustainable eating in the last year with new initiatives.
Hung found that students weren’t really thinking about how their eating habits were impacting the earth but more about what might taste better.
“There are still a lot of students that want the protein and sugar [but] it would help if the students would take the power and drive the demand for healthier sustainable foods, the vegan foods,” she said. “Students can be healthy without being vegan or vegetarian they just have to ask to make that request so we can set our menu.”
The dining center has been trying for years now to change their food sources to local and sustainable small farming,using the SMART initiative, but in the last year the reports have been poor. Hung hopes this will change with the students.
Hernandez finds that people are worried about what is happening in the environment, but it just comes down to there being a possible lack of organization for people to gather around.
Hernandez says there are a lot of ways to get involved on campus if someone wanted to including looking at your food waste, trash output and recycling habits. Others ways to get involved include the Sol Patch Gardens and the food pantry on campus which help the environment and students.
“I believe that there are many people that have seen what this administration has done,” he said. “And they want to do something about it,” Hernandez said.